26 May, 11:11 AM

Russians intensify attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, shell Kharkiv, killing seven (UPDATED)

Today, May 26, is the 92nd day of Ukraine's defense against a full-scale Russian invasion. Putin's war is entering its fourth month.

6.53 p.m: The number of victims of today's Russian shelling of Kharkiv grew to seven people killed and 17 people wounded, including a 9-year-old child.

"The enemy insidiously terrorizing the civilian population. Once again, I ask everyone not to be on the streets without urgent needs. It is still too early to relax, " Kharkiv governor Oleh Synehubov said.

5.14 p.m: Occupied part of Kherson Oblast is on the verge of flooding, Ukraine's Army General Staff has reported.

Occupied town Nova Kakhovka was partially flooded, as the Russians do not allow the repair of hydraulic units at the Kakhovka HPP, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksiy Hromov said.

He claimed that the occupiers do not take care of the HPP facilities properly. Negligence can lead to environmental catastrophe.

3.45 p.m: Ukrainian law enforcers have recovered 1303 bodies of civilians, killed by Russian forces during the occupation of Kyiv Oblast, head of Kyiv Oblast National Police Andriy Nebytov said in a Telegram statement.

Most of them were shot dead. When the Russian military withdrew from the Kyiv Oblast under pressure from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the occupiers began to loot the homes of citizens.

"Out of rage, the aggressors mined fields and terrain near their positions. Explosions are heard almost every day in the Chornobyl Zone, as animals get into boobytraps left by the occupiers in the forests," Nebytov said.

3.38 p.m: After weeks of silence Russian forces have renewed shelling of Kharkiv, local governor Oleh Synehubov reported. 

"The occupiers are shelling the regional center again. Seven people were injured in the shelling. Unfortunately, 4 people were killed," Synehubov said.

3.30 p.m: Russians have intensified their attacks against the Ukrainian army all over the front to the maximum, Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Hanna Maliar told Interfax-Ua.

The situation remains complex and shows signs of further aggravation. The enemy used all forces and means to capture Ukrainian territory and surround Ukrainian troops.

"The fighting has reached its maximum intensity so far, the enemy is storming the positions of our soldiers in several directions simultaneously," Maliar said.

"We have an extremely difficult and long stage of struggle ahead of us, and we must understand that this is a war, and, unfortunately, losses on our part are inevitable," she added.

3.00 p.m: Ukraine has offered mothers of Russian soldiers killed in action to travel to Ukraine for free to get the bodies of their sons, Ukrzaliznytsia railway company head Oleksandr Kamyshyn said.

"We are ready to give free tickets to those Russian mothers who come to pick up the bodies of their children. We will do everything for free: we bring you in, we will give you the bodies, we will take you out of the country," Kamyshyn said.

1.49 p.m:  Russia has already lost 29,600 soldiers killed in action in Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army has reported.

Morning digest

The situation in Donbas becomes more difficult for Ukrainians every day as invaders throw all their resources to destroy and then occupy both Ukrainian eastern regions. The occupiers have been trying to gain a foothold in Severodonetsk, Luhansk Oblast, where Ukrainian forces were almost surrounded by Russian troops. Heavy fighting continues in the Luhansk region, where Russians already control 95 percent of the territory.

The Russian Federation has fired artillery at the center of Lysychansk, and damaged apartment buildings and private houses, hotel premises, and garages were damaged, and no one was injured.  The occupiers have been trying to resume their offensive on Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army has reported.

The American Institute for War Studies (ISW) suggests that the Russian occupiers plan to intensify the battle for Severodonetsk and are preparing to attack Siversk.

According to the analysis, Russian troops have given priority to advancing east and west of Popasna to cut Ukrainian ground lines southwest of Severodonetsk and complete efforts to encircle Luhansk Oblast.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the world to remember that now is 2022, not 1938, and reminded of the millions of Ukrainians living in the territories that some Western politicians, like former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, are proposing to Ukraine to "exchange for the illusion of peace."

Russia continues blackmailing the world community that faces a food crisis due to the Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports. Russian officials have been saying that they might allow Ukrainian grains to be exported from Odesa ports in exchange for lifting sanctions. The US has already said that it would not fall for the Kremlin's demands. 

Ukraine keeps asking the West to provide heavy weapons fast but faces more and more delays. 

Israel has rejected a request from the United States to allow Berlin to supply Ukraine with Spike anti-tank missiles made in Germany using Israeli technology and a license, Axios reported, citing two representatives from the United States and Israel.

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